5 days 11 hours 38 minutes is how long it took Nick Clarke to complete the grueling Atlas Mountain Race in February 2020 across the unforgiving Moroccan landscape.
The unsupported fixed route race from Marrakesh to Sidi Rabat is a distance of 1150 km with 20,000 mtrs of climbing in the Atlas Mountains and 3 checkpoints along the way. The clock doesn’t stop until the end.
Nick was racing for Arctic-Aircon Racing Team, one of the longest running UK sponsored/supported race teams with 23 years in British Cycling. Nick is also a founding member of Berkhamsted Cycling Club.
He started the event in full-on race mode and was in the top 20 for most of the race. Nick had to overcome one or two setback’s along the way including a crash, loosing his water bottles, 5 snapped wheel spokes, failure of his bike luggage and saddle sores. However his legs held out fine.
Single-mindedness and determination saw Nick finish in a highly creditable 33rd position.
200 riders started the race and 123 finished with Pro-Continental rider Christen Mayer one of the non-finishers due to saddle sores.
Nick has vowed to return next year or take on another long distance race.
So a gloomy September morning dawned on the day of the BCC TT around Mentmore, one of the clubs well used ride routes, heavy drizzle and standing water was set to greet the 62 brave souls signed up for the annual 10 mile dash, honours and bragging rights at stake.
Just as the cohort of hardy BCC volunteers started to arrive along with the riders the weather brightened, and we could swear blue sky was appearing. A number of riders cited ‘illness’ or an aversion to water so the field finally whittled itself down to around 45 riders departing with guinea pig, endurance junkie and chairman Mike Plowman starting off the affair, with the rest of the field chasing his yellow peril TT bike, a small ray of dwindling brightness up Mentmore Hill in the grey.
Apart from small spill by Simon Pearce by the duck pond who still managed a very creditable 5th overall despite the bumps and road rash the race was uneventful and duly won overall by Nick Clarke in a time of 22:08 at an average of 27 mph or 43.4 kph. For the women Sam Fawcett came home in a time of 25:13, an average of 23.8 mph or 38.3 kph and an 11th overall. (Provisional results).
Winners of the best 3 riders home in a team went to old friends Ashmei Musette Men and Lovelo Squadra Donne Women.
Very positive feedback from all and the HQ at Tracy’s Café put on some fine refreshments. Huge thanks to all the volunteers, marshals and timekeepers.
BCC members have been around the globe over the summer with riders in Canada, Australia, Spain, France, Italy and our home territory – The Chilterns.
Talking about ‘around the globe’, from 1st Jan to 15th Sept 2019 club members have cycled 516,280kms. That’s over 17 times around the world. Chapeau! These are a few of the activities that members have been up to…
Heather and James competed in the Vitruvian middle distance triathlon and after 2km swim, 52mile bike and a half marathon Heather finished 3rd in her age group and was 8th lady overall. A brilliant result! Heather was spurred on by James who managed to chase her down at 15 miles on the bike after her 10min head start and James smashed 4hrs 30mins!
While the pro-teams were fighting it out at La Vuelta a España, BCC had it’s Vuelta ride with plenty of tapas supplied by Musette Café on a fabulous late summer day.
Nick Clarke (BCC second claim member) and Jonathan Schubert racing for Arctic Aircon rode the Duo Normand 50km 2-up time trial in Marigny, Normandy. They finished in a time of 1hr 9mins 47secs placing them – 3rd Senior category, 4th of all the non-UCI registered professional teams and 17th fastest on the day for professional and non-professional.
James completed the Paris-Brest-Paris 1,200km Audax ride in 85hrs 10mins 32secs. A phenomenal achievement for this ride that’s held every 4 years. Entry can only be gained by completing long distance Audax rides prior to the event. Chapeau from all at the club.
The first round of this seasons Central Cyclo-Cross League (CCXL) kicked of in sunny Milton Keynes with Jez and Stephen racing in the seniors and Tim (Lovelo kit) in the vet 40 age cat. All are racing for BCC and had a great time with Jez happy to have completed the race and Tim finishing mid-field. Stephen put in a strong ride but a puncture sidelined him from a finish. Credit to Keith Perry for the fantastic photos.
Well done to Team Ride 45 (with BCC members) who completed the 12 hour time trial at Brands Hatch and came 1st in their category.
James also raced at Brands Hatch in the Revolve 24 6 hour challenge and completed 100 miles in 5hrs 16mins averaging 19+mph.
Recreating times-gone-by BCC held it’s Eroica style ride taking in some of the rolling Chilterns and ending at Mussette Café. A great time had by all with old steel bikes, finesse gear changing, woolen shorts and toe straps!
We are delighted that local lass Anna Henderson has been selected to represent GB at the Cycling World Championships in Yorkshire and the club wish her the best of luck. Anna started racing in 2015 with our local bike shop Lovelo Cycle Works and is currently the under 23 GB National Champ.
A few words from Paul Gardner our Performance Officer, race organiser and owner of Lovetri Swimwerkx
Whilst the rest of the world watched a certain global bike race culminating in a Paris finish, here in Hertfordshire, Berkhamsted Cycling Club were running their own bike race around the Mentmore Countryside. Unlike the Tour de France, their race welcomes women too, men’s in the morning and women’s in the afternoon. After a dreary wet 6 am start for around 40 volunteers gravel brushing, catering and signing the entire route the races commenced with a 50 strong men’s field attacking a 12 lap 80 km loop meandering around Mentmore, starting and finishing on the picturesque Green.
The rolling course, comprising a sharp short hill and a fast descent soon allowed a breakaway of two riders, subsequently caught soon afterwards. 7 riders dropped out or were lapped, as the course made short work of tyres. Maintaining speeds of over 40 kph and kept safe by motorcycle escorts and official cars the riders battled high wind and rain to fight it out in a mass sprint for the finish with first 3 places going to Robert Attreed of Thames Velo, Rodolpho Neils Gervasio, Overseas Rider and local man Joe Nixon of Ashmei Musette Race Team based in Aldbury. Berkhamsted Cycle Club member James Timmis made a little piece of local history by making the top 10 with a hugely creditable 9th in his first race. Berkhamsted Mayor Garrick Stevens was there to make the podium presentations
The afternoon saw an improvement in the weather, with the rain stopping. The women’s race, featuring around 35 women, had a blistering start with newly promoted top rider Fran Cutts pacing hard around the course, subsequently winning the prizes for the two fastest laps. The women splintered into two main groups, with most of the race being fiercely contested by the 20 strong main group, and featuring local rider Rebecca Fawcett of Berkhamsted Lovello Squadra Donne who was never far from the front coming in 14th at the finish. The three women’s winners were Kerry Middleton of Team LDN, Francesca Hall of DAP Cycling Club and Lucy Lee, University of Bath Cycling Club.
Mike Plowman, Chair of Berkhamsted Cycling club commented ‘It was a great fun day for all, with the hard work of the club’s volunteers reflected in the close safe racing we had during the day, truly putting the Berkhamsted Road Race firmly on the UK racing scene’ Paul Gardner, Race Director, commented, We’ve had great feedback from the riders on our safe well organised race, with most saying they’ll be back again next year’
Racing has started in earnest for the 2019 season. A brief roundup of the latest events…
Stephen raced at the local Bovingdon Bomber criterium hosted by HHCC. A great circuit and an easy ride from Berkhamsted.
Julian raced at the Eton Dorney Triathlon Sprint distance and Herts Olympic distance Triathlon in preparation for an upcoming Ironman Race.
Simon raced in the Hemel Hempstaed Cycling Club (HHCC) 10 mile time trial with a very respectable 19th place in a time of 25mins 12secs despite taking a wrong turn and adding almost another mile. He would have been in the top 10 otherwise. Simon is preparing for the Cambridge closed road time trial and hopes to qualify for the UCI finals race.
Second claim member Nick (Arctic Tacx 1st claim) has been training hard over the winter and has seen fantastic gains in time trialing with a 3rd place at the Hitchin Nomads 25 mile, 1st at the HHCC 10 mile and 4th at Hounslow 100 mile with a time of 3hrs 39mins 50secs and averaging 44kmh (27.4mph).
James also raced at the Hitchin TT placing 15th in 58min 16secs with an average of 42kmh (26mph).
Rob has been racing at Milton Keynes Bowl and Richard at Hillingdon criterium circuits. Both easing back into the 2019 series of events.
Lee raced at the West London Combine 25 mile TT with a provisional time of 1hr 2 secs at over 38kmh (24mph)
The 2019 TT season is well underway and club racers have been in the mix at the Cycling Time Trials London North Millennium series of races.
James Taylor has also entered the Road Time Trial Council (RTTC) National 24 hour Championships on 20th July 2019 held in Merseyside. Taking place just south of Chester the course loops down to Shrewsbury with parts of it on the A41. Almost home from home!
More details on James’s 24 hour race will be published soon.
Results of BCC riders from the London North Millennium TT’s (to 1st May 2019).
Icknield Road Club 30km TT
James Taylor 10th
Nick Clarke racing under Arctic Tacx RT (BCC 2nd claim member) 6th
London Phoenix Cycling Club 10 mile TT
Nick Clarke racing under Arctic Tacx RT (BCC 2nd claim member) 7th
James Taylor 14th
Watford Velo Sport Hilly 21 mile TT
James Taylor 6th
Tim Warrell 27th (10th veteran)
Hemel Hempstead Cycling Club Sid Latchford Hilly 22 mile TT
Nick Clarke racing under Arctic Tacx RT (BCC 2nd claim member) 7th
Heather Taylor 8th Women
James Taylor 11th
Leighton Buzzard Triathlon Club 10 mile TT
Nick Clarke racing under Arctic Tacx RT (BCC 2nd claim member) 2nd
Dave Walden 39th (25th veteran)
On Sunday 27th January a band of intrepid BCC’ers braved the wind, and the rain, and the wind and the hail, and the wind, and the cold, and the wind, and the mud and very occasionally some pleasant sunshine to compete in the final round of this year’s Central Cyclocross League (CCXL).
Taking part were Robin Lord, in his first CX race of the year, Niamh and Mervyn Dempsey, Janice Bell, who was taking part in her very first ever CX race, Jonny Gray and yours truly (Jez Kidd). The racers were ably supported by a host of BCC ‘spectatheletes’: IT guy, photographer and all round club supporter Trevor Hill, Men’s Captain Rob Morton, Neil and Charlie Barnes (who was dressed as a Chicken), Tommy and Marie Wong and Baby Ben.
This year’s CCXL has brought us a little bit of everything, and so it was with today’s race, which brought us four seasons in one day, with a double helping of mud. The course wound its way around the Hillingdon road circuit, a familiar venue to any crit racers, but today put to a slightly different purpose. The course started on tarmac before diving onto the grass and a series of tight turns and small rises for a truncated first lap, which brought the race quickly back to the start line and a now extended course which included two short steep drops, with two equally short steep climbs. The race took in off camber sections (resulting in an off camber club secretary on more than one occasion), the obligatory hurdles and tight tracks through trees and bushes. While it didn’t feature as much climbing as some of the previous rounds it more than made up for it with lots of the aforementioned mud which meant plenty of going sideways and running with the bike, with the small number of gravel and paved sections never being quite long enough to get your breath back.
All in all a fantastic race and brilliant fun to be part of.
Provisional Results based on CCXL timing system:
Robin Lord 38th
Niamh Dempsey 17th
Janice Bell 20th
Mervyn Dempsey 10th
Jonny Gray 18th
Jez Kidd 22nd
I’ve really enjoyed my first season of CX and I’d urge everyone to give it a go, I’m even thinking of training next time 😉
As winter weather closes in and December is on the horizon the cyclocross season is in full swing. The British Cycling Central Cyclocross League (CCXL) is BCC’s local league with 15 rounds of races on Saturdays or Sundays all within 1 hours drive of Berkhamsted.
The club has five regular racers and welcome more to join in these events. Some of the people racing cross are there to improve bike handling and keep fitness levels up, just being on the start line is a win. Others are more competitive and are moving up the placings.
There are specific cyclocross bikes but a mountain bike is fine with many riders using them in the races. So far this year the events have been mainly dry but a little mud never hurts. It’s a great way to keep fitness going over the winter and the events always have a great atmosphere. The races are split into age categories, and gridded based on past performance so riders are competing with similar ability riders. There is a regular bunch of spectators that always give lots of encouragement.
Niamh and Mervyn Dempsey are regular competitors, both have been cyclo cross fans for years. Their escapades were sidelined recently with the arrival of son Ralph but both Niamh and Merv are back in the swing of racing.
Following is a race report penned by Niamh from the 17th November 2018 race:
‘Corley cycles hosted round 9 of the central CX season at MK bowl on Saturday. New club secretary Jez Kidd, Jonny Gray and Merv and Niamh Dempsey took on the steep climbs and descents with baby Ralph posing as a keen spectator (soon to be world champion).
Out of a female field of 44 people Niamh came 19th. The boys had a huge field of 93 high level riders. Merv finished an impressive 38th with Johnny putting in an great ride finishing 79th! Jez had his strongest finish yet coming 84th’
Lee and Tommy dipped their toes into a Duathlon event (2 mile Run, 10 mile Cycle, 1 mile run) at Hillingdon on 11th November 2018 and this is their story…
Having done a few duathlons, triathlons and did I mention an Ironman in the past, I thought I’d encourage a few of the purely cycle related athletes of the club to join me in an end of season multi-sport blow out at Hillingdon!
It was a short duathlon, 2 mile run, 10 mile ride finished by a 1 mile run. Mr Wong was the only one that stepped up, having already told me he ran the Manchester marathon in the past, (that in fact wasn’t classed as a marathon as it was 200m short, still a sore point). Other members I asked rolled their eyes at the running aspect, even though the distances were miniscule!
It was wet, windy and early come race morning. Tommy, despite having got lost on the way to the start, spilling a whole mug of coffee in the clubhouse, missing the race briefing, was fully prepared to lose his duathlon virginity. He rocked up with his ex-pro bike and was immediately seen as a threat!
We lined up at the start line for the start of the event, Tommy and I found ourselves stood right at the front. We looked around and we were surrounded by what can only be described as whippet-looking racing snakes doing vigorous warm ups. We subtly drifted to the back, shivering, and waiting for the start gun to sound.
The gun went off and so did the racing snakes, Tommy and I started our leisurely jog at the back but soon realised we were on to beat the 1 mile world record just trying to stay with the pack. The course itself is a closed 1 mile cycle circuit, fairly flat and not too technical, so was a case of counting laps, 2 laps for the first run, 10 laps on the bike, finished with an all-out lap run finish.
I made my way into T1 about 15 seconds ahead of Tommy. I stupidly had some crank/twist mechanism on my carbon cycle shoes so spent an age putting them on. Mr Wong slapped my rear as he entered transition, looking fresh and mischievous.
We both headed out on our 10 lap cycle at the same time proudly sporting the BCC Jersey. Fortunately, I had my strap ons on my Canyon Aeroad (my aerobars). I tucked up in the aero position and powered my way through the brutal head wind whilst noticing Tommy fighting the wind behind me. He’s not used to being so exposed being the expert draft master he is. I opened up a half lap lead by the end of the ride.
Starting the final 1 mile run was a strange experience. In my head and being “metricised” I didn’t see a mile as far, so started out full gas with lead like legs from the bike. When my HR soon went into the high 190’s I decided to reel it back in, conscious that the short distance sprinter Wong would relish a 1 mile lap. I told myself not to look back as I caught a flash of the other BCC jersey in my peripheral vision!
The sun was now beating down as I crossed the finish line. I turned to noticed Tommy rounding the corner only a handful of seconds behind! What a performance for his first multi-sport event and such a huge smile!
We both finished in the top half of the results table, which isn’t too bad seeing I’m 6ft 3in weighing 95kgs and run like a hippo. Tommy is the complete opposite, 5ft 3in weighing 30kgs looking like a graceful gazelle.
Tommy and I felt we needed to share the accomplishment on the club page to encourage multisport, we kindly asked the guy stood next to us to take the picture, but as we handed him the camera he got called up onto the podium to collect his first prize!
Typically us newbies asked the race winner to take our pic! Ha. He kindly returned to us after spraying his champagne to take our snap. How embarrassing?!
We both highly recommend Hillingdon as an entry level duathlon. It’s a closed circuit and there was a real mixed bag of athletes there from seasoned pro’s to complete newbie’s riding MTB’s. Tommy has the taste now. If I can get Tommy in the pool, he can join me at Ironman Barcelona next Oct!! 😊
Just a couple of words from me to add to Lee’s excellent write up, I have been gradually reintroducing myself back into running, mainly in preparation for being a bit more time-poor next year, so the Hillingdon Duathlon seemed like the perfect event to dip my toe in, literally.
Lee failed to tell me that drafting was not permitted until just before the start, which was a bit like telling Messi he can no longer kick the ball with his feet.
Despite this handicap, rain and the nasty headwind, I thoroughly enjoyed the well-organised event and keen to try some more multi-discipline events. I just need to borrow Janice’s armbands.
Big thanks to Lee for talking me through it and cheering me on at the end, it was a fun morning out and the Maccies breakfast afterwards was well earned.
As 2018 draws towards its latter months it’s a good time to reflect on what has been achieved by our club’s members. Summer is hanging on, just, much later than it has any right to, but even though the days are shorter, the temperatures are still way up above the seasonal norm, meaning it’s still possible to get out and enjoy fair weather riding. Having said that, the summer racing series have closed and we’re heading into the winter crit and cyclo cross season.
This season has seen more BCC members taking part in competitive events than ever before, with many outstanding results being achieved. Several members have dipped their toes in the waters of competitive cycling for the first time, while others have enjoyed their first taste of the (metaphorical) Champagne.
The club has hosted four main competitive events, across different disciplines, and entered no fewer than three teams in the 9-up team time trial at Silverstone, including our first ever nine-person women’s team. Both of the men’s teams improved on their previous times, while the women set an initial time as a benchmark to build on in the future. Aside from these club events, many members have raced on their own account, flying the BCC colours in crits, road races, triathlons, individual and team time trials and cyclo cross.
It seems that hardly a week goes by without large numbers of our club riders completing sportives, with mass participation in the Prudential Ride London 100, a good representation in the Liege-Bastogne-Liege, and one or two tackling the grueling Dragon Ride, Fred Whitton Challenge and the Maratona dles Dolomites, to name just a few. With a fine spread of club members taking on the Tour of Cambridgeshire – a qualifying round for the amateur world championships – five of their number qualified to represent Great Britain in Italy. We even have our own Ironman, and several who took on and conquered half ironman competitions. Apart from these organised events we’ve had the greatest ever number of our membership heading off to tackle tough rides in all manner of mountain ranges around the world. We have also claimed a new world record. Everyone, it seems, is getting more ambitious and pushing themselves harder and further than ever before. Pretty impressive for a club that’s only four years old.
The year started with the Harp Hilly 100, which BCC won for the fourth year in succession. 51 members braved the chills and hills to bring home the much-coveted shield again, much to the chagrin of other local clubs.
By April the weather hadn’t improved much, but nonetheless a good crop of club members took part in the Berkhamsted Triathlon. We had individual members competing as solo entrants and we also fielded several teams of three, with overall victory going to BCC’s team comprising Emily Hartwell (swim), Matt Buckle (bike) and Rob Chambers(run). The fastest cycle leg of the day went to our own Simon Pearce, who just pipped Matt Buckle’s time.
May saw us visit the London Olympic velodrome, as 32 of us descended on the track to take over the venue, giving a fair few their first experience on the banked wooden boards. This was just a fun event, but more than one came away pledging to become accredited on the tracks and take up the sport.
June witnessed the Berkhamsted Castle Revolutions Festival, a day of crit racing on closed roads, which provided spectacular racing throughout, and a win for one of our members in the hotly-contested men’s novice race. In fact our club members dominated the results, with two podiums, five of the top six places, and seven of the top ten going to BCC. 2nd place in the women’s novice race also went to a BCC club member.
Into August and the BCC Road Race was run on a loop around Mentmore. An expansion from last year came in the shape of a women’s race in addition to the men’s. Across the two competitions we fielded an impressive seven riders, and came away with a win in the women’s Cat 4.
In September our 10 mile open time trial was revived on the Mentmore Loop, with a good turnout of 23 BCC members on the starting line. Our ladies were narrowly beaten to the Team Shield by Lovelo Cinelli Race Team, but we had a win in the “Athlete” class for standard road bikes. The men’s team went one better and brought home the Team Shield and took an individual bronze medal, while the “Athlete” medal was won by a BCC member, albeit entered under the Lovelo banner.
Which brings us to our last competitive event of the season – our club hill climb, run up Tom’s Hill in Aldbury in late October. A good showing of entrants from several local clubs, and one or two who had come from as far afield as Dulwich came to the start line, and was interspersed with a few of our own lightweight uphill flying machines. Although we didn’t win any prizes today, BCC put on an excellent showing and were roundly applauded and thanked by all those who took part, whose generous appreciation and acknowledgement made it all seem worthwhile.
So, all in all a very satisfactory season for BCC.
Everyone who has taken part in these competitive activities deserves recognition, but there are one or two individuals whose achievements I would like to highlight:
Matt Buckle, for his win in a Cat 3 crit race at Hillingdon. He would have scored a second win, but elected to take the short cut to hospital instead.
James Taylor, who within two weekends went from a Cat 4 racer with zero points to a Cat 3, with a fantastic race in which he just missed the win. He also put in some great time trial performances.
Ben Nixon, for winning in his first ever race, and going on to represent Great Britain in the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships in Italy.
Simon Pearce, for continually putting in outstanding performances every time he rides. 3rd in his age group (58th overall) in Ride London and 12th overall on Velothon Wales. Another Great Britain representative at the world championships.
Heather Taylor, for her 2nd in the women’s novice race at BCRF and her two triathlon wins.
Janice Bell, winner of the women’s Cat 4 in our road race and the “Athlete” class in our time trial. Also, Janice qualified for, and represented Great Britain in the world championship Gran Fondo.
Lee Morgan, for completing an ironman competition.
The above is just a small selection. Across the board no fewer than 67 of our members have competed in races of one form or another this season. Take a bow – you deserve it.
Berkhamsted Cycling Club Hillclimb, Tom’s Hill, Aldbury. 21st October 2018
Our annual test on Tom’s Hill was held on a crisp, bright Sunday morning which saw the picturesque village of Aldbury bathed in beautiful Autumn sunshine, and views across from the hill tops looking down onto mist-shrouded valleys. It couldn’t have been a better setting for the 36 riders who had come to support our event. The first rider was underway at one minute past nine, and after enduring three minutes’ worth of pain it was all over for him. Although there are no viciously steep inclines on the hill, it is quite challenging, and more than a few competitors mentioned how hard they had found it.
All seemed to have enjoyed the hurt of the competition though, and a steaming but happy throng made their way back to the event headquarters in Musette Cafe for refreshments and the awards ceremony.
Fastest time of the day went to Calvin Cheung from Hub Velo, with a most impressive two minutes and six seconds, while Karine Jones from Verulam Really Moving took women’s honours at two minutes, fifty two seconds. Well done Calvin and Karine. BCC were represented by a small, but perfectly-formed group, who put in some good performances, but fell just short of collecting medals. Next year they have promised to win.
This event has always been run as a B Category “closed” club event, but we are looking at running it as an open event for next year. With a larger field than ever before, and many entrants vowing to come back next year, 2019’s running could be even better.
A great day of racing. Well done riders, volunteers, supporters and Graham for organising the event.
Pictures can be viewed and downloaded (free) from Flickr by clicking the image below…
Sunday, 30th September saw BCC host its annual 10 mile open time trial on the Mentmore Loop. We were favoured by bright conditions, albeit chilly to begin with, and all competitors got round the course with no reported incidents.
Awards were spread around local clubs and teams, with BCC bringing home a few of the medals, to the appreciation of the partisan crowd.
Congratulations to the Lovelo ladies, who won the team shield, just ahead of BCC’s women. Our men won the corresponding shield for the gents, for the second year in succession. Well done all and many thanks to Graham the organiser along with all the volunteers.
1st: Helen McKay, Les Filles Racing Team
2nd: Samantha Fawcett, Lovelo Cinelli Racing Team
3rd: Nicole Oh, Les Filles Racing Team
1st Veteran: Helen McKay, Les Filles Racing Team
1st “Athlete”: Janice Bell, Berkhamsted Cycling Club
Team Shield: Lovelo Cinelli Racing Team (Samantha Fawcett, Bethany
Harrison, Rebecca Fawcett)
1st: Mark Ellis, Team Milton Keynes
2nd: Michael Parker, TMG Horizon Racing Team
3rd: Simon Pearce, Berkhamsted Cycling Club
1st Veteran: Mark Ellis, Team Milton Keynes
1st “Athlete”: Tim Newman, Lovelo Cinelli Racing Team (also a member of
Berkhamsted Cycling Club)
Team Shield: Berkhamsted Cycling Club (Simon Pearce, Ben Conradi, Lee
Congratulations to Ben Nixon who came 7th in his first ever Cat 4 race.
Ben worked hard leading the peloton at Hillingdon cycle circuit back to the breakaway group on the final lap. Rob Morton in his first regular British Cycling Cat 4 race and Rich were just outside the points.
Matt raced the Cat 3 event and finished in a strong 5th place amongst a very sketchy bunch sprint. 1 point away from gaining his Cat 2 license! A great evening for Berko CC.
Rich raced at Milton Keynes Bowl finishing 10th and gaining another point.
Sunday, 5th August saw Berkhamsted CC hosting its second road race. This year the event was expanded to include a women’s race as well as the men’s race. We were using the Mentmore course, incorporating a long straight drag, which on this occasion was into the wind, followed by a climb up to Mentmore.
For the men there were 12 repeats of this, covering 80 kms (50 miles), while the women had 10 laps, or 70 kms. All of this was undertaken in very warm conditions.
A full field of 60 riders had entered the men’s race, which got underway at 9.30 in the morning, although there were a few no-shows on the day.
Hugely disappointing was the wheel failure experienced by our own Simon Pearce. Fortunately it let go in the HQ car park as riders lined up behind the course car. The loud explosion as the wheel rim literally blew apart took everyone in the vicinity by surprise, and although Simon was disappointed not to be able to take the start he must have been counting his lucky stars that it didn’t happen on the 40 mph descent out of Mentmore.
Further bad luck afflicted another BCC member, James Burke, who punctured on the first lap and had to abandon. Apart from those misfortunes we did see four of our riders cross the finish line, with James Taylor heading Matt Buckle, Ben Nixon and Rob Morton. Our Cat 3 riders, James and Matt, did a superb job, staying with the pack until the finish line, while Ben and Rob had their own battle within the 4th Cat entrants.
The hotly contested race finally saw Richard Wiggins of Team Milton Keynes emerge victorious, followed by Cian Smailes of NFuse Identity Racing and Joe Baker of Zero BC Development Team.
The afternoon brought the ladies to the start line, and this was always going to be a very serious field, with cats 2, 3 and 4 competing for honours.
The main pack stayed together for the whole race, with Georgia Bullard of Team Jadan Weldtite – Vive Le Velo crossing the line first, followed by Charlotte Redden of Cycle Team On Form and Francesca Cutts of CC London. Both races saw great sprinting for the primes, and when the results were finally established it was enormously gratifying to see that BCC’s Janice Bell had won the Cat 4 competition.
From all the positive remarks and compliments from competitors, with many expressing their wish to compete again next year, I think we can say the event was a great success.
BCC would like to express their thanks to Grange Jaguar Land Rover, who supported the event and supplied the course cars.
The club also wishes a huge THANK YOU to the volunteers, marshals, British Cycling staff and our Performance Officer Graham Earl as without these people the race would never have happened. You are all winners!
For more pictures of the day click on the image below…
Matt and Richard have been out on the local crit circuits at Milton Keynes and Hillingdon. Richard is improving in the cat 4 races contesting for the sprint at Hillingdon and getting stronger as the season moves on.
Matt has had some well earned rest with family holidays and finished 6th at Hillingdon cat 3 race. He punctured early on, changed a wheel and had to sprint back to the bunch. Ultimately the effort cost as Matt felt he could have gone with a three man break that stayed away and took the top spots.
James Taylor rode in the Tour of Wessex, a three-day sportive. Not a stage race, but still a tough ride. Here is James’ account of the event:
Over the Bank holiday weekend I took part in the Tour of Wessex, a 3 day cycle sportive covering 325 Miles/ 525 km and 25,000 ft/ 7,600 meters of climbing.
Day 1: 100 Miles, 7,200 feet
The start of the first ride took me north into the Mendip Hills and a climb up through Cheddar Gorge, followed by some further tough climbs including a couple with gradients of over 20%. Finally, I looped back through Glastonbury then back to the HQ.
Day 2: 120 Miles, 7,500 feet
The second day started with a storm which turned the roads to rivers, fortunately after an hour or so the rain cleared and the sun came out. This ride was the longest of the weekend and took me south down to the Dorset coast and Corfe castle. There was only 1 significant climb about half way through the ride, which was 2 Miles long with an average gradient of 4% maxing out at 17%, the remainder of the ride was on rolling terrain back to the HQ.
Day 3: 107 Miles, 10,000 feet
Today’s ride would have been a very tough ride without 220 Miles in the legs as it included multiple difficult climbs. The pace at the start of today was much slower than previous days as everybody tried to save as much energy for the hill later in the ride. The first climb of the day was 1.5 Miles at 7% with multiple sections over 20%, this was followed by a 1.2 mile climb at 10% which took me into Exmoor.
Fortunately, the ride took us down the A39 (the steepest A road in the UK) which had gradients in excess of 25%. Though this meant ascending Dunkery Beacon, a 1.9 Mile climb averaging 10.3% with multiple sections in the high teens. With one final tough climb back through the Quantock hills, I had completed the event.
If you’re thinking of doing a multi-day sportive I would highly recommend the Tour of Wessex. A very well organised sportive with 3 great routes providing a real challenge in some stunning scenery.
Richard races at Hillingdon and Julian at the Lovelo Time Trial.
The race in Richard’s words…
West Thames Cat 4 race – 29 May 2018.
“The Hillingdon track continued to dry as the field of 25 riders battled a strong Northerly wind on the uphill climb. The breakaways came to nought as the pack controlled the race towards the bunch sprint finish. The pace increased with two laps to go and riders began to fall off the back. The young guns fought for position at the front and the sprint began as we entered the tight corners at the top of the track. I cut inside two riders gaining some clear road and began the sprint, on the long left hander to finish line, gaining on eighth but not enough road.
Count those riders ahead of me, eight!! Done it, my first points 🙂 ”
BCC currently rank 25th out of 63 clubs that have scored points in British Cycling Central League. A fantastic achievement for an all inclusive club.
Julian completed the Lovelo 50 mile time trial at the weekend averaging over 20 mph and up against some full-on TT rigs.
Marcin Białobłocki (ex CCC Sprandi Polkowice) won in a time of 1hr 34min 58secs – the third fastest 50 mile time ever!
If your going to be beaten it’s better to be by one of the best in the world!
The Academy got it’s first win in a while as Matt finally put his knowledge of Hillingdon to good use and won the cat 3 race.
Here is Matt’s account of the race…
“Epic race and splintered all over. Brutal headwind in the finish straight but a breakaway of 4 went from the gun, then dropped 1 to become 3 out front. It seemed a strong group so I helped pace at the front but it was pedestrian and disorganised in the bunch and the gap got out to about 30 secs. 3 more guys jumped off the front and got a gap.
Shortly after whilst pacing at the front I actually found myself sort of rolling off the front and with a little gap of my own. Rather than sitting straight up I decided to steady time trial just to make them work to bring me back. Then found a groove and found myself catching the 3 and growing the gap to the bunch. So I pressed on for about 4 laps solo in the gap, which was super hard – basically 600w intervals into the headwind each time up the finish straight, then trying to recover the rest of the lap whilst cornering as fast as possible.
I was closing, closing to what had become 6 out front. Then just as I was starting to really suffer, the cavalry arrived in the form of 4 more attackers from the bunch. I managed to latch onto them and buy my way out of a couple of turns but then started pulling through with them. We rode really well as a 5 to catch the 6 ahead with about 3 laps to go. We worked together enough to hold off the now fast chasing bunch.
A guy tried to attack with the break from 1.5 laps out but we had him marked and so a joined up breakaway of 11 went together to the sprint. I got a great position and latched onto to the wheel of a strong guy who started his sprint with about 200m to go. I knew I wanted to leave it as late as possible into the headwind and left it to the last 75m before I moved to come round him and made it just before the line.
First win for a LONG time!”
Other Academy racers were competing in crit, TT and road race events.
James and Matt at the Verulam – reallymoving Road Race on 20th May.
Matt punctured with two laps to go and despite a huge effort to re-join the bunch the pace was to high.
James found the brutally high pace difficult to maintain; 45mph down the descent, into walking pace / gravelly bend into sprint, into 30mph back to the turn, up and over Mentmore and repeat x15.
Both were very appreciative of the support from club members on the course.
James also competed in the Hitchin Nomads 25 mile time trial on May 19th finishing mid-field.
Jack raced in the Somerset Road Club cat 4 crit at Torbay Velopark on May 19th. A hard race and he stayed with the bunch until the last lap.
He also competed in the Milton Keynes Bowl cat 4 crit race on May 24th and was in with the bunch sprint until 400 meters to go when Jack had to break hard to avoid an incident.
Jack is improving race-on-race and it’s only a matter of time before he’s in the points.
David, James and Julian were in action at the Antelope 3-up 50km team time trial in Chalgrove, Oxfordshire. They finished in 1hr 27min 42secs averaging over 21 mph.
Matt competed in the Thames Velo road race and finished 11th averaging over 26mph for the 50 mile race. He felt that he could have placed higher but was slightly out of position for the sprint.
Matt was also at Hillingdon crit finishing 8th in the cat 3 race, unfortunately again boxed in for the sprint.
He competed in the Hemel Hempstead CC weekly 10 mile Time Trial on the 3rd and 10th of May. He won the former on a road bike and finished 3rd in the latter!
Matt is going very well and has started a TT bike build. The Academy cant wait 🙂
Paul and Trevor also raced in the HHCC 10 TT on 10th May and both thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Setting a bench mark to improve on over the summer.
Richard raced at Hillingdon in the cat 4 race finishing in provisional 15th place. Learning all the time and improving race-on-race.
James raced the London Phoenix 9 mile TT finishing in 11th place with a time of 22min 42secs averaging over 24mph. James was 1st on a road bike beating lots of full-on TT rigs!
BCC’s Matt Buckle has enjoyed a successful week, picking up a win in the Berkhamsted triathlon last Sunday, in which he rode the cycling leg in the winning relay team. In that race Matt’s time was just eclipsed by fellow BCC member, Simon Pearce, who claimed fastest time of the day, the pair just beating ex-BCC man, Matty Earles. Overall, it was a great day for the club.
Matt followed this victory with a win in Hemel Hempstead Cycling Club’s Thursday evening 10 mile time trial.